Endless cycles of genetic experimentation and cloning turned this DC supervillain into the perfect, adaptable machine of pure, unadulterated destruction that once cost Superman his life. Yes, we're talking about Doomsday, the creature of Kryptonian origin that, without the Man of Steel, would have decimated everything (and everyone) on Earth.
Thanks to a new book, we can better understand Doomsday and other inhabitants of the DC Universe via concepts of real-world science. Written by S.D. Perry (Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report) and Matthew Manning (Batman Character Encyclopedia), DC Comics: Anatomy of a Metahuman (out Sept. 18) is like an ancient DaVincian sketchbook of superheroes and supervillains, breaking down their bodies and powers as a medical textbook would do for aspiring physicians.
"The initial idea was to create the equivalent of Gray's Anatomy, but for superheroes," the book's editor Chris Prince told SYFY WIRE. While Perry and Manning are the official writers, Bruce Wayne (Batman) is credited as the publication's fictional author.
"Between the two of them they had to find a dynamic balance between creating a compelling Batman narrative that would drive the reader through the book and making sure the science was firmly rooted in the real world," Prince added.
As it happens, we've got an exclusive look at one of the pages on Doomsday, beautifully illustrated by Ming Doyle, which you can check out below. Wayne postulates that Doomsday's virtually indestructible outer plating "is likely a mass of tough scar tissue."
The book, according to Prince, was inspired by both Kevin Smith's 1995 movie Mallrats and the cinematic sketchbooks of Guillermo del Toro.
"In Mallrats there's several scenes where Jason Lee's character, Brodie, talks about superhero anatomy and how it would work in the real world," he said. "It's very funny and lewd, and although we didn't want to go anywhere near those aspects of superhero anatomy in our book, the idea of applying real-world physics and biology to superheroes always stuck with me."
"In terms of the visual style of the book, GDT was a big influence. When I started at Insight I worked on Guillermo's book Cabinet of Curiosities, which focuses on his personal collections and journals. His journals are beautiful, Da Vinci-esque notebooks into which he pours out his creative thoughts. They have a distinct, organic look that mixes evocative illustration with handwritten text, and I wanted to capture something similarly dynamic in DC: Anatomy. Guillermo's notebooks are also full of little secrets and easter eggs in the text, and that was something I also wanted to emulate. Each page of Anatomy of a Metahuman is stuffed with little notes from Batman, and there's loads of fun little secrets to discover."
All said and done, DC: Anatomy took five years to write, a difficult feat that included finding the right combination of comic book fantasy and real-world scientific concepts and theories.
"It took us a while to get the balance right and to make sure that it was a good blend of science and fun DCU material," revealed Prince. "Overall, it was a case of applying real-world research and imagination to create a great meld of science and the DC universe that allowed us to explore these classic characters in a way they've never been explored before."
Pick up your own copy of DC Comics: Anatomy of a Metahuman on Tuesday, Sept. 18.